ParaNorman - DVD movie review

From April 21, 2013

I really liked this movie. It’s got some clichés, but I think those were done to poke fun at horror movie conventions. My favorite thing about it was that once you thought you knew where the movie was going, they took a left turn and ended up doing something far better than you expected.
The film actually makes reference a lot to bullying. Norman is picked on for being a freak (it’s painted on his school locker). The kid he ends up becoming friends with is an overweight kid, Neil (“fatty” is painted on his school locker). The school bully, Alvin, comes up and mocks Norman, then laughs and says “Ha! That was SO Alvin!” to his cronies. Norman’s friend, Neil, says “You can’t stop bullying. It’s human nature. If you [Norman] were bigger and more stupid, you’d probably be a bully, too.”
The film also ends with some more words about bullying, when Norman confronts the antagonist. Just when I thought the movie would end like most films, building up and up and up into a louder and louder crescendo, it takes another left turn and ends as well I hoped it would.

• The facial animation is superb. The characters all have translucent ears. Cool.
• Cool 1970s style intro.
• Norman has zombie slippers. His feet slip into the zomibies’ mouths. Nice touch
• At one point a character says, “That statue just ‘psst’ at us!”
• Norman’s friend, Neil, in an effort to protect Norman, threatens to throw hummus at someone. “Don’t make me throw this hummus! It’s spicy!”
• Neil looks like the red-haired kid from “The Sandlot” and the X-Files episode “Bad Blood”
• Someone says to Norman; “Swear!” And Norman replies, “You mean, like the F-word?”
• Norman uses his phone as a flashlight, which we’ve all done and reminded me of Mulder and Scully going into a dark, scary place with nothing but a flashlight.
• The skies in the film are neat looking. I assume they were done digitally. They’re all smoky and ethereal looking.
• The bit with the vending machine was hilarious to me.
• There’s a Scooby Doo reference to “meddling kids”
• A policewoman gets mad about the townsfolk shooting at people. “Firing at civilians? That is for the police to do!”

• The movie reminds me of The Sixth Sense, about a kid who sees dead people.
• Movie clichés: The dad is fat and bumbling, the mother is annoying and cloying, the older teenage sister is bitchy.

• There are some genuinely scary moments in this film, which I thought was cool, but which may scare younger viewers.
• Norman looks like Elvis to me.
• In a kids movie (or one that most people would associate as a kids movie) I was surprised to hear characters say “Jackass!” “Oh, hell yeah.” and was surprised to see a sexy, scandalous drawing of a witch on a billboard. I was also surprised to hear the dad at one point go on a rant about “limp-wristed liberals”, but I think that was done to show how stupid/close-minded he is.